17 03 2010

There’s been talk about FourSquare lately, but not much info about what it is or how it can be applied in a useful way.

So, some explanation for those who have heard the talk but still feel left in the dark.

Firstly, FourSquare is an application which runs from your Mobile Phone, if you have one of the recent smartphones which you can add applications to, Blackberry, iPhone, Android, Then you can download and use it.

Secondly, FourSquare is a bit like any other social networking program where you need to set up an account, which like all the rest is completely free.

Now, What does it do and how do I use it.

Assume that you’re going away on holiday soon, to an unfamiliar town. And a couple of your friends want to go with you.
It’s a road trip and you’re going by motorbike, Jenny wants to visit the art gallery and some of the heritage listed buildings, Mark wants to see the winery and Museum, and you, being a foodie, want to check out the local eateries.

So, upon arrival, you all fan out and go to the places that interest you.

Ordinarily this sets up problems, someone gets lost, another wastes hours waiting for the other who thought you’d be waiting at the OTHER cafe on the other side of town, it can be a pain, I’ve experienced this myself.

You do have the option these days of phoning each other, and that’s fine, but you need to ring everyone seperately too, so… hrmmm.

But if you’re all using FourSquare, what happens is that you go to the application, and choose your location from a list of nearby places, this works better on a phone with GPS, when you have the location, there will be a green button at the top named “check in”,
you hit that, press send, and it’s done.

If the others want you, they pull out their phone, log into foursquare, and they can read that you’ve “checked in” to the local cafe, there’s a map to it, and it will tell you roughly how far away it is.

Yes, for two people, you could just phone them, but what if you’re in the city and there’s eight of you?

The other use is that if you’re living in a city like Melbourne, and you have friends living nearby who are also on Foursquare, then you can find out where they are… this might be useful if you wanted to meet Tom that evening, but he turned out to be in the Cafe just a few doors up the street.

One webpage thought that it could be dangerous, and suggested that people could use it for working out when people are not at home and robbing their houses, however, with Foursquare you don’t strive to have hundreds of friends like with Facebook, with this it’s best to keep things tight, with a select group of trustworthy friends.

I like to try out all kinds of applications, and although I wasn’t too enthusiastic about this one, as it’s also in part, a game, and I don’t tend to like games… it can also send out spammy messages over Facebook and Twitter, Therefore I have restricted my notifications to the application itself.

A funny thought before I finish, I thought of FourSquare as “Electronic Urine” as we’re sort of marking our territory like dogs.

Well, if our noses weren’t so weak, maybe we wouldn’t need this kind of thing?

Foursquare isn’t a bad application which may also be useful (but I’m not totally convinced yet), I’d say give it a try.




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